I have to confess, winter is
not my favorite season. Even though I live in California we have our fair share
of cold and even the occasional snow. I’m not complaining. Okay, maybe a
little. But by the time Christmas is done I crave tennis, the longer days of
daylight savings time, and the sight of fresh green growth in my garden.
Over the years, I’ve found effective
ways to lighten the winter doldrums like bundling up for walks with my mate and
canine companion; building evening fires in the fireplace; keeping warm and
hearty vegetarian soups and stews cooking on the stove; and finding appealing ways
to add warming, visual interest to my home and garden.
I’ve come up with my own, ideas to make the dreary winter months
pleasant, warm and aesthetically pleasing.
Here are ten of my favorite
ways to brighten your winter mood at home.
via WINGS VIEW AT HOME
1. Forcing bulbs and branches-
Paper Whites, Amaranth, flowering quince, forsythia and hyacinth are super easy
to ‘force’ into flowering. Cold storing bulbs mimics the effect of winter cold
and tricks the bulbs into thinking its spring when brought inside to the warmer
temperatures of the home. Quince and forsythia need buds on them before they
can be forced but bulbs can start without growth.
2. Texture- in design terms
translates to warmth and visual interest. Functional, beautiful elements that
add texture are baskets and heavy throw blankets. For fall think in terms of earth tones like
russets, golden yellows, and warm browns. For Christmas, winter white, greens,
reds or icy blues if that happens to be your color scheme.
3. Swapping throw pillows- is a
bit more challenging especially in rooms that are already decorated. Look for
fabrics in warm tones that also coordinate with the other elements in the room.
If you don’t have a lot of patterned fabrics in your design scheme it will be
easier to find the right coordinating pillows.
4. Greenery, fresh or faux- bringing the outside
in is never a bad thing but it’s especially effective during long winter days.
Having greenery, fresh or faux in your home signals spring and can be
incredibly mood enhancing. Some of my favorites are ivy and honeysuckle
topiary, red and white amaryllis, and fragrant paper white Narcissi’s.
5. Mirrors- are also strategic year
round decorating elements and during the winter months they help by expanding
light during shorter, darker days.
6. New lamps- to shed light on
those dark corners of the home. With lamps, you really get what you pay for.
The design and quality of high quality lamps is truly an investment that will
pay off. Cheap lighting seldom looks good to begin with, and doesn’t stay in
7. Cocktail trays and carts- add
a touch of festivity and function to your rooms. I love freshly washed
stemware, interesting liquor bottles and attractive cocktail accoutrement like
decorative cheese knives and stir sticks. Also a nice touch: fresh tea towels
to hang casually from cart handles.
8. Silver or China tea service-
are other great ways to add festivity and function to formal rooms. I love
putting them in the formal areas like a corner of the living room, on the
dining room sideboard or even in the entry if it’s near the dining room.
JEFFREY ALLEN MARKS
9. The color red- in little
touches here and there is a subtle yet confident way to add warmth and
brightness to any décor or color scheme. It doesn’t take a lot: a red nosegay
in a small green glass vase, a red cashmere throw tossed casually over the back
of a chair, a lampshade in red silk. Even if your color scheme contains no red,
small touches of the color add so much.
MARK D. SIKES
10. Hard bound coffee table books-
are my favorite “fillers” for table, sideboard and dresser tops. I have them in
every room because they add character, beauty and a feeling of permanence to
any home. It’s very hard to have too many so don’t be shy.
11. Solar tubes and skylights-
are one of the best upgrades you can make in any home. I’ve done them in
designer showcases and client’s homes and they’re indispensable in winter
months. Care must be taken, however to protect furniture and flooring from
12. Drapery sheers- I have long
been a fan of unlined, white linen, floor length curtain panels on rods and
rings layered in conjunction with lined, functioning (traversing) stationary
(non-functioning) drapery panels. I love the options the two layers allow. Keep
in mind how much glass and light will be covered by the expanse of draperies.
Bye for now!